If you are in any size shape or form involved in ballet, I most highly recommend that you chasé right on over to Kathryn Morgan’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/Tutugirlkem). Morgan followed the path of a prodigy during her youth. She moved to New York when she was 15 to train at the School of American Ballet, and joined New York City Ballet just two years later at the age of 17. After being cast in several leading roles to critical acclaim, she was promoted to soloist, again just two short years after she joined the company. But this prodigious path diverged when she was diagnosed with a very complex and devastating thyroid condition. This forced her to leave New York City Ballet.
However, this diagnosis does not make her a pitiful character. In fact, it is what makes her so inspiring. After she received the right medication for her condition, she started intensive training to get back on the stage, even though many told her that that would never happen. It is when she talks about how she threw caution to the wind and did whatever it took to get back dancing that I am inspired. You can hear the resilience in her voice, and you just know that she will be back very soon.
By the way, the point of this post is not to talk about Morgan, but I just couldn’t help myself. The purpose is to actually talk about and recommend a book: “In the Wings: Behind the Scenes at the New York City Ballet.” Morgan recommended this book in one of her videos, and I was absoluelty thrilled to see that the library owns it!
This is a coffee-table book that is basically a crash course into the hidden world of a ballet company. It takes you through a day at the New York City Ballet – from morning class to the evening’s performance. It has some light, narrative text but the main draw is the stunning photos. However, what makes the book so special is that it is all produced by a dancer in this ballet company! He wrote the text and took the photos. This position gives him unequaled access to the inner happenings of his work space. He does a fantastic job of clearly describing how this company, or as he calls it, “machine,” functions every day. So, if you were ever curious about life in a ballet company, do not hesitate! Get this book and you will not be disappointed.